Think of it as an early Christmas present to yourself. The perfect bedside book—as long as there’s a light left on in the...



There are pleasures aplenty in this latest doorstopper field-report from the world of unicorns, wizards, altered mental states, and magical transformations.

Inevitably, however, this ambitious gathering of 37 stories, ten poems, and a single nonfiction entry (critic Douglas E. Winter’s argumentative essay “The Pathos of Genre”) is somewhat uneven. Datlow and Windling aren’t really critics; they’re enthusiasts—and it does sometimes seem as if everything not written by Ann Beattie or Ed McBain meets their criteria for inclusion. (Is everything that’s not realistic therefore fantastic? It’s a legitimate critical crux.) That said, who wouldn’t want to encounter in one conveniently capacious volume such knockout stuff as the inexplicably underrated Delia Sherman’s atmospheric “The Parvat Ruby” (which is far superior to her wry poem “Carabosse”), newcomer Elizabeth Birmingham’s imaginative ghost story “Falling Away,” and consensus grandmaster Patricia A. McKillip’s superb “Toad” (which wryly adds sexual panic and species discrimination to the subtext of a classic fairy tale). Other deft retellings of familiar stories include N. Scott Momaday’s Native American fable “The Transformation,” Wendy Wheeler’s sensuous “Skin So Green and Fine,” and Gemma Files’s ingenious hybrid “The Emperor’s Old Clothes.” Old hands Ursula K. Le Guin, Gene Wolfe, and Steven Millhauser appear in fine form, and the estimable Neil Gaiman contributes both an unusually clever trick story (“Harlequin Valentine”) and a hair-raising portrayal of a preadolescent serial killer whose path to fame and fortune coolly updates Horatio Alger (“Keepsakes and Treasures: A Love Story”). A rather similar story, Michael Marshall Smith’s “What You Make It,” raises merry hell with the legend of the Pied Piper and the image of the kindly old granny. Also not to be missed: Steve Rasnic Tem’s beautifully written “Halloween Street,” Thomas Wharton’s Borgesian “The Paper-Thin Garden,” and April Seeley’s nicely conceived, poem “Mrs. Santa Decides to Move to Florida.”

Think of it as an early Christmas present to yourself. The perfect bedside book—as long as there’s a light left on in the hallway.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-312-26274-4

Page Count: 640

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2000

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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  • New York Times Bestseller


Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.


A tightly wound caseworker is pushed out of his comfort zone when he’s sent to observe a remote orphanage for magical children.

Linus Baker loves rules, which makes him perfectly suited for his job as a midlevel bureaucrat working for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, where he investigates orphanages for children who can do things like make objects float, who have tails or feathers, and even those who are young witches. Linus clings to the notion that his job is about saving children from cruel or dangerous homes, but really he’s a cog in a government machine that treats magical children as second-class citizens. When Extremely Upper Management sends for Linus, he learns that his next assignment is a mission to an island orphanage for especially dangerous kids. He is to stay on the island for a month and write reports for Extremely Upper Management, which warns him to be especially meticulous in his observations. When he reaches the island, he meets extraordinary kids like Talia the gnome, Theodore the wyvern, and Chauncey, an amorphous blob whose parentage is unknown. The proprietor of the orphanage is a strange but charming man named Arthur, who makes it clear to Linus that he will do anything in his power to give his charges a loving home on the island. As Linus spends more time with Arthur and the kids, he starts to question a world that would shun them for being different, and he even develops romantic feelings for Arthur. Lambda Literary Award–winning author Klune (The Art of Breathing, 2019, etc.) has a knack for creating endearing characters, and readers will grow to love Arthur and the orphans alongside Linus. Linus himself is a lovable protagonist despite his prickliness, and Klune aptly handles his evolving feelings and morals. The prose is a touch wooden in places, but fans of quirky fantasy will eat it up.

A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21728-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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